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Molly McKew @MollyMcKew
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Hi folks -- I'll live-tweet highlights (and frustration) of the Senate Intel hearing with facebook/twiiter this morning in this thread. /1
Burr's opening statement mostly a re-hash of his past, on-point statements, but he highlights that the same vulnerabilities exist, and the information social media platforms distribute "changes minds, hardens opinions" -- and thus is critically important. /2
Burr: "There are no insolvable problems: only the will to do something, or the absence."
Pretty much. /3
Burr + Warner both slam Google for not appearing; Warner highlights google+youtube roles in amplifying propaganda and conspiracies via opaque algorithms. /4
Warner: Russian operations ongoing and they are also refining and adapting their tactics. Other adversaries learn from Russia. Also highlights ability to screw up markets/stocks, inflame violence via disinfo. /5
Warner: "Era of wild west in social media is coming to an end."
Praises -- deservedly -- SSCI members for really digging into these issues in a bipartisan way. /6
Warner highlights questions on data, terms of service, automation, and revenue models that need to be addressed. /7
Sandberg opening: blah blah elections blah blah Facebook can be such a force for good but blah blah oopsy "our service gets abused". /8
Facebook is now presenting numbers & stuff they are doing -- none of which counters that yesterday, someone published that FB failed a basic test on preventing overt foreign interference.
FB has done a lot; I am not minimizing. But, the impact of those measures up for debate /9
Sandberg repeats a flaw of the Zuck op-ed today -- believing that "troll farms" are driven by economy as opposed to being connected to intelligence efforts. /10
Jack opener: He is reading a statement off his smart phone, which he tweets out as he reads it, and I could not roll my eyes any harder. /11
Going to say again: it's not about the ads....

Both FB and Twitter say they are blocking/removing millions of accounts a week. Think about the scale of what that means for the veracity and trustworthiness of info on platforms. /12
Here's Jack's thread. I appreciate that he is there and his comments at the end of this. /13

Burr: what is social media?
Sandberg: sharing what you want when you want to without anyone's permission. "giving a voice."
Sandberg sounds so scripted it's hard to take much of this seriously. /14
Jack: "public square" idea. "News and entertainment are byproducts of public conversation." ... huh? Focuses again on defining and amplifying "healthy conversation" in public square, and on incentivizing behaviors. (see his recent interview) /15
Burr asks re data/targeted ads/hostile actors.
Sandberg: "privacy and advertising are not at odds... users have control over info we use."
This later statement is not, in fact, fully honest, as many better experts have discussed. /16
Maybe there should be a Melania counterpart campaign for social media -- instead of "do better" -- DO BEST /17
Burr asks re coordination between platforms. Answers show they don't do enough but appear to be trying to unravel how to share intel. /18
Warner: should users know when bots/automation is interacting with them?
Jack: sort of [context should be more apparent] /19
Warner: on ads/data/value -- should users know what info is being collected?
Sandberg: "we've worked hard to simplify this," highlights "download my information" function
W: shouldn't they know what the value of this info is?
SS: [regulation is coming, yeah, we know] /20
W: political actors are using platform to incite violence; mentions Myanmar and Facebook role. Moral and legal obligation to take down accounts that incentive violence?
SS: "I strongly believe that." [did she just say FB has legal obligation on this? interesting] /21
Risch: who determines coordinated inauthentic behavior?
SS: security team + others
Risch is about to ask about conservative repression. wait for it. /22
Risch: difference b/w US/non-US actors matter legally. Do you draw this distinction?
SS: yes for political/issue ads
Risch: can citizens of other countries comment on politics?
SS: in free content yes, in advertising no.
Jack: same. Sometimes have to infer account locations /23
interesting -- jack says they rely on law enforcement to determine account locations. /24
Risch: but easy to pretend to be an American.
Jack: we focus more on behavioral patterns on the platform, how network is used to spread information. Our machine learning recognizes these patterns and shuts them down more quickly.
[This is actually really smart] /25
Wyden: consumer privacy is a national security issue. [yes.] "personal data is weapon of choice for political influence campaigns." [big time.]
should protections on privacy be a national security priority? -- both say yes /26
Wyden: in 2011 audit, FB shared American data from smartphones with ZTE/Wahwei. Very troubling. Will you make your partnerships with phone manufacturers public? People should know. /27
SS: ... nope. But maybe.
Wyden: microtargeting to discourage voting -- powerful tool.
ss: it's not just the Russians [it really isn't]
Wyden: so what are doing about it?
SS: [responds on ads, again, not the point] /28
Wyden: foreign govt "hoaxes and misinfo". Have Iran Russia or agents amplified "hoaxes"?
Jack: [confused about hoax -- Wyden should have said CONSPIRACIES]
SS: iran accounts pretended to be news... /29
Rubio: highlights report of fake ad buy. Appreciate comments on democracy etc. But what happens when authoritarian regimes ask you same things we do -- where democracy is seen as hostile? Do you really believe in these core values or does that vary in other places? /30
Rubio: will you comply with new Vietnam law, on handing over data to govt? [btw Russia has a similar law] Lists many accounts FB has blocked on non-democratic regime request. Do you support these principles around the world?
SS: we don't store data in Vietnam, or turn it over /31
Jack: we have a policy of per-country content take down. "world can still have conversation" [even though internal censorship is fine?] Push back on Turkish govt sometimes... but it takes a while to get there/ /32
Jack: have to comply with laws within nations. [TOOOOOOOTALLY dodges question on if US and authoritarian state actions are morally equivalent.... but answers finally when Rubio comes back at him] /33
Heinrich: since 2016, lots of other elections in world. What have you learned?
SS: "we'll have to continue to learn." getting faster at identifying threats.
Jack: in Mexico, allowed reporting of suspicious behavior. We're also focusing on patterns of behavior/dissemination /34
Heinrich: are incentives there for you to act on any of this?
SS: sure. trust matters.
Jack: yes, but we need to question fundamental incentives in our whole product. [this could be good, or really terrifying] /35
SS: "our fundamental view is bad speech can be countered by good speech."
[no, nope. that isn't how it works.] /36
Colins asks if twitter is notifying users they interacted with Russian accounts [no]
She then points out hundreds of thousands of people were targeted with misinfo on her and she found out from clemson. Jack squirms. She says to make more data available for researchers [YES] /37
Harris: what percentage of content on FB is inorganic?
SS:.. ummm. not sure.
Harris: but when content is inflammatory and that is most engaged with, how do you reconcile that with revenue models? Cites examples of selective content reviewing that are racist /38
SS: addressed policy after it was exposed by the media. [as always]
Harris: so you no longer protect w/hate speech policy only certain, designated groups?
ss: will check. /39
Blunt: will you archive suspended accounts so they can be reviewed by researchers?
Jack: considering transparency report on suspensions.
Blunt: archive. not report.
Jack: need to look at legal implications. /40
Blunt: do you distinguish between foreign/domestic campaigns?
SS: inauthenticity is characteristic. in US, most is domestic. most Russian activity targets russians. /41
King and Langford have both raised "deep fakes."
More questions about why platforms are deleting info from accounts they pulled down, and not making it available for research etc. /42
**Lankford. sorry

Lankford: what's the relationship with Whatsapp?
SS: yes it's encrypted.

Manchin: WV has a major opiates etc problem -- and these are sold via social media. The vulnerable are targeted with ads. People are dying. Are you responsible for these deaths as drug dealers are? [DAMN]
SS: it's getting better. It's prohibited
Jack: Same here. trying. /44
Manchin: but are you responsible? shouldn't you be held accountable as in other areas, like sex trafficking?
Jack: open to discussing that.

Manchin: why aren't you in China?
[both blocked by Chinese govt]
Jack: not worth fighting. eh.
SS: can't be there with our values /45
Cotton: Maybe google isn't here because afraid of answering questions about not working with US military on AI, while working with China extensively on AI and censorship. [DAMN. but yes.] /46
Cotton: DataMiner stopped cooperating with CIA but was still cooperating with RT/Russian actors -- is it still?
Jack: no. we also don't like actors who use twitter data for 24 hr surveillance.
Cotton: would you reconsider working with CIA?
Jack: global policy on surveillance/47
... but open to discussing.

Cotton: do you see difference between US and hostile foreign actors?
Jack: don't want to enable surveillance.

Cotton: you both still have Assange and wikileaks, which are a hostile foreign intelligence proxy. why? /48
SS: won't defend wikileaks or others. but, it is public already.
jack: no violation of terms of service. open to law enforcement insight that would inform that /49
Jack: using our services is an exchange for your data.

which gets back to earlier questions re what is the value -- and are we all getting the crap end of the deal [yes] /50
Warner comes back to value point.

Tweeps. Data is the new labor. Get it now? /51
What's fueling the massive wealth disparity? We're building the next economy -- for free. /52
Burr: We've learned how easy it is for foreign actors to manipulate American opinion using social media.

Burr hits on right point -- target is American people. /53
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